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Wednesday 14 March 2018

United Airlines: puppy killers

United Airlines is the world's third-largest airline when measured by revenue, after American Airlines and Delta Air Lines. And it has form when it comes to causing anguish to its customers. 

The latest scandal to envelope the US carrier occurred earlier this week when a 10-month-old puppy suffocated after it was placed inside an overhead compartment on a three-hour flight from Houston to New York City. 

The puppy has been stored in a carrier at the passenger's feet but a flight attendant demanded that the  woman travelling with the puppy and her two children place the puppy in its carrier inside the overhead bin for the duration of the flight.

The woman protested, witnesses said, but the flight attendant assured her that the dog would be safe, and told her the family would not be allowed to travel if she refused to stow the dog in the bin.

When the plane landed at LaGuardia Airport and the owner opened the overhead bin, the puppy was no longer breathing. The family had paid $125US so the dog could travel with the family rather than being placed in a cargo hold.  

"This was a tragic accident that should never have occurred, as pets should never be placed in the overhead bin," a United spokeswoman said. Which did not explain why its own staff member insisted the puppy be placed there. 

"We assume full responsibility for this tragedy and express our deepest condolences to the family and are committed to supporting them."

The puppy whimpered through the beginning of the flight, but eventually grew quiet. The incident sparked widespread social media outrage. 

CNN reported the incident as "another PR disaster" for United. 

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